Too Many Projects Have You Paralyzed?
Editor's note: I'm no longer a professional organizer, but this post is SO popular that I'm keeping it up for those who need it.
P.S. - Are you a performer or part of a performing arts organization and want to learn how to market yourself? That's what I'm doing now! Click the "Start Here" above, and let's chat!
I read a great number of blogs of all types for inspiration. The other day, one of the blogs I read posted about how they have this house full of half-done projects and now money is running tight so they're starting a bunch of free projects.
Ladies and gents, this is how you can easily go from being in a state of basic chaos to paralytic overwhelm.
Sound a bit dramatic? Perhaps. However, considering almost every person that calls for my help is usually in a frantic state and to the point that the overwhelm has paralyzed them from being able to make a decision, I'm cool with bordering on the dramatic.
Project overwhelm is something I see regularly with my creative folks. (The ADD ones too.)
Luckily, it's easily remedied.
Don't start a new project until you've finished the last one.
OK...easier said than done, but not really. You have to retrain yourself to not multitask in favor of singular focus on tasks. After all, you know what multitasking really is. Right?
Multi-tasking is half-assing a whole bunch of things in the same amount of time as you could do one thing really well.
And who wants mediocre? Especially if it's staring you down in your own house!
Had this blogger finished each project before starting a new one, they wouldn't be in a house full of half-done things. They could have just as easily made a list of everything they wanted to do and worked on projects start to finish as their budget allowed.
Are you too stuck with bunches o' half-done projects and need to know what to do next?
First, make a list of everything that needs to be finished. This gets it down on paper and out of your head. Clearing space in your head is a fabulous thing and goes a LONG way towards getting past the overwhelm.
Determine what of this list you really WANT to do and also what is most important. Take care of these items first.
- What can be delegated or hired out? Then do that. The money is probably far less than the time wasted either in your mind about doing/not doing it - or worse, poorly trying to do it yourself then having to hire out after all. There's no shame in admitting that DIY isn't your game. One of my favorite sayings is "Throw some money at the problem and make it go away." Find yourself someone fun on Etsy and get them to do it. It'll be a win for you both.
- At this point the remaining items on your list are either things you don't really want to do and/or not important enough to be done. Let' them go. Guilt free. Is it something someone else can use? Donate it. Otherwise recycle or trash it, and don't worry about it ever again.
In a budget crunch?
Order the list from most important to least and plan it out with your budget. This way you've now got a game plan, and it doesn't have to take up precious space in your brain.
But what if I have to do multiple projects at the same time?
You're not totally screwed if you have to do multiple projects at once, like for work. Once upon a time I was an event planner, and I planned almost a hundred events a year...majority of which all took place on Saturdays. As an entrepreneur and one-woman-show, I have to do everything pretty much all at once. So I got you.
Do the same as above - but for each project separately. Put the info in separate file folders if you're analog, or into different lists within your to-do management app if you're digital. (I love TickTick.) And if you're on a deadline, add tasks into a calendar by deadline. So you're still working on things individually one at a time, but you're not waiting to finish one project before moving onto the next one.